The Detroit Red Wings‘ waiting game continues.
General Manager Steve Yzerman said last month he would meet with coach Jeff Blashill “very quickly” after the season to discuss his future.
It’s now Day 3 (and counting) and no word from the front office.
What’s the delay?
Red Wings Respect
If Blashill’s relationship with the Red Wings was going to be severed, Yzerman would have cut ties last Sunday – Monday at the latest.
Now that it’s Wednesday mid-afternoon and the players’ post-season exit interviews are underway – or completed in some cases – Blashill would not have played a role if he didn’t have a future with the franchise.
That is to be determined.
Former Red Wings linemate and NHL coach Gerard Gallant is coaching Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Latvia, starting May 21. It’s his first coaching assignment since being fired by the Vegas Knights on Jan. 15, 2020, despite a 118-75-20 mark with the expansion franchise.
During his nine seasons as an NHL coach, Gallant compiled a 270-216-51 mark.
If a coaching change is made, Gallant will certainly get an interview if he’s interested.
Perhaps Blashill is being groomed for a front-office position or scouting department leader?
One thing is certain, Yzerman, entering his third offseason with the Red Wings, has an arsenal – and abundance – of draft assets and financial flexibility. He is in a unique position to reshape the franchise.
Despite his respect for the job Blashill has done in an otherwise difficult situation the past half-decade, the opportunity to hire his own coach could prove too irresistible for Yzerman.
As the hand-picked heir to Mike Babcock, Blashill was named coach of the Red Wings in 2015 following a stint with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, which included a Calder Cup championship.
In six seasons as Red Wings coach, Blashill compiled a 172-221-62 record.
One aspect Yzerman noted was, despite all the recent losing and constant lineup shuffling, Blashill never lost the locker room and, for the most part, the players competed hard.
The Red Wings’ season ended Saturday with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Two NHL teams made coaching moves Sunday. The Blue Jackets fired John Tortorella after six seasons and the Arizona Coyotes moved on from Rick Tocchet after four years.
In Detroit, the waiting game continues …